In an apparent effort to unfriend the Oxford American Dictionary, the Global Language Monitor has named Twitter its word of the year. “Twitter represents a new form of social interaction, where all communication is reduced to 140 characters,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor. “Being limited to strict formats did wonders for the sonnet and haiku,” Payack said “One wonders where this highly impractical word-limit will lead as the future unfolds.” Apparently, it’s the verb form of Twitter (‘to twitter something’) that was chosen, as opposed to the noun. The Global Language Monitor defines the word as “The ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters,” which I suppose means that ‘twittering something’ is beating our ‘tweeting something’ in popular usage.

Twitter. Word of the Year.

The choices were determined using the Global Language Monitor’s proprietary algorithm, which tracks words and phrases in the media and on the internet.

“The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity,” according to the press release.

Other tech words made the list, led by ‘2.0,’ which was ranked number six. Hadron was the 8th-ranked word (the associated God Particle and Large Hadron Collider were among the top phrases and names of the year), and cloud computing was the number six phrase of the year.

Here is the entire list of words, phrases and names of the year, accompanied by the Global Language Monitor’s comments about them:

The Top Words of 2009

1. Twitter — The ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters
2. Obama — The word stem transforms into scores of new words like ObamaCare
3. H1N1 — The formal (and politically correct) name for Swine Flu
4. Stimulus — The $800 billion aid package meant to help mend the US economy
5. Vampire — Vampires are very much en vogue, now the symbol of unrequited love
6. 2.0 — The 2.0 suffix is attached to the next generation of everything
7. Deficit — Lessons from history are dire warnings here
8. Hadron — Ephemeral particles subject to collision in the Large Hadron Collider
9. Healthcare — The direction of which is the subject of intense debate in the US
10. Transparency — Elusive goal for which many 21st c. governments are striving
11. Outrage — In response to large bonuses handed out to ‘bailed-out’ companies
12. Bonus — The incentive pay packages that came to symbolize greed and excess
13. Unemployed — And underemployed amount to close to 20% of US workforce
14. Foreclosure — Forced eviction for not keeping up with the mortgage payments
15. Cartel — In Mexico, at the center of the battle over drug trafficking

The Top Phrases of 2009

1. King of Pop –Elvis was ‘The King;’ MJ had to settle for ‘King of Pop’
2. Obama-mania — One of the scores of words from the Obama-word stem
3. Climate Change — Considered politically neutral compared to global warming
4. Swine Flu — Popular name for the illness caused by the H1N1 virus
5. Too Large to Fail — Institutions that are deemed necessary for financial stability
6. Cloud Computing — Using the Internet for a variety of computer services
7. Public Option — The ability to buy health insurance from a government entity
8. Jai Ho! — A Hindi shout of joy or accomplishment
9. Mayan Calendar — Consists of various ‘cycles,’ one of which ends on 12/21/2012
10. God Particle — The hadron, believed to hold the secrets of the Big Bang

The Top Names of 2009
1. Barack Obama — It was Obama’s year, though MJ nearly eclipsed in the end
2. Michael Jackson — Eclipses Obama on internet though lags in traditional media
3. Mobama — Mrs. Obama, sometimes as a fashion Icon
4. Large Hadron Collider — The Trillion dollar ‘aton smasher’ buried outside Geneva
5. Neda Agha Sultan — Iranian woman killed in the post-election demonstrations
6. Nancy Pelosi –The Democratic Speaker of the US House
7. M. Ahmadinejad — The president of Iran, once again
8. Hamid Karzai — The winner of Afghanistan’s disputed election
9. Rahm Emmanuel — Bringing ‘Chicago-style politics’ to the Administration
10. Sonia Sotomayor — The first Hispanic woman on the US Supreme Court

By Mark Alvarez